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El Greco, <em>Adoration of the Shepherds</em>
El Greco, Adoration of the Shepherds

Wild! Everything seems transient in this otherworldly scene, but El Greco’s bold colors stay with us.

Jusepe de Ribera, <em>The Martyrdom of Saint Philip</em>
Jusepe de Ribera, The Martyrdom of Saint Philip

Ribera depicts the moment before St. Philip’s death, yet the martyr’s body distorts and collapses before our eyes.

Fra Angelico, <em>The Annunciation and Life of the Virgin</em> (c. 1426)
Fra Angelico, The Annunciation and Life of the Virgin (c. 1426)

With its sumptuous foliage and gold detail, this painting celebrates the decorative and captures the spiritual.

Andrea Mantegna, <em>Dormition (or Death) of the Virgin</em>
Andrea Mantegna, Dormition (or Death) of the Virgin

Mantegna’s draped figures resurrect classical sculpture, but the landscape was from life—that’s Renaissance Mantua.

Diego Velázquez, <em>Las Meninas</em>
Diego Velázquez, Las Meninas

This puzzling painting about painting is half genre scene, half family portrait. But what’s on the large canvas?

Francisco Goya, <em>The Family of Charles IV</em>
Francisco Goya, The Family of Charles IV

Goya depicts the king’s family in scintillating detail… but the sparkle of the monarchy is beginning to fade.

Diego Velázquez, <em>Vulcan’s Forge</em>
Diego Velázquez, Vulcan’s Forge

Don’t strike the messenger! Interrupted at his forge, a horrified Vulcan looks ready to hammer Apollo.

Diego Velázquez, <em>Los Borrachos (The Drunks),</em> or <em>The Triumph of Bacchus</em>
Diego Velázquez, Los Borrachos (The Drunks), or The Triumph of Bacchus

Velázquez lends immediacy and gritty realism to a mythological subject. We are right there, ready to partake.

Francisco Goya, <em>Saturn Devouring One Of His Sons</em>
Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring One Of His Sons

Goya’s taste in home décor is called into question by this cannibalistic meditation on the nature of power.

Albrecht Dürer, <em>Self-Portrait</em> (1498)
Albrecht Dürer, Self-Portrait (1498)

No paint touched those gloves! This portrait advertises Dürer’s skill—both the work of his mind and of his hand.

Rogier van der Weyden, <em>Deposition</em>
Rogier van der Weyden, Deposition

You can taste the tears... Rogier captures grieving bodies with meticulousness and compositional rhythm.

Hieronymus Bosch, <em>The Garden of Earthly Delights</em>
Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights

Care for some magic berries? This hallucinogenic landscape offers up a bizarre mix of creation and damnation.